Although Target is moving some of its Pride Collection apparel to the back of its stores in some locations in the South, the LGBTQ clothing line for children and adults is front and center in both of the retail chain’s Wyoming stores.
The controversial clothing and accessories collection has spurred calls for a nationwide boycott because of its focus on children.
Photos of Target’s “tuck-friendly” bathing suit for concealing male genitalia hit social media this month, enraging consumers, many of whom believed at first that the suit was kid-sized.
It’s not. The bathing suit is snug, but it’s adult-sized.
It’s right next to the “Pride Toddler Leggings” and the “Bien Proud!” onesie for babies at the Casper and Cheyenne Target stores.
One tag on a pair of extra-small shorts says, “Thoughtfully fit on multiple body types and gender expressions,” while another tag on the bathing suit reads, “Tuck-Friendly Construction” and “Extra Crotch Coverage.”
Then there are the adult-sized T-shirts featuring nude gender-nonconforming cartoons, the “pride baby bodysuit” and a coloring book featuring gay couples kissing.
Cowboy State Reaction
Wyoming lawmakers range from irritated to unconcerned about the collection and its placement in state Target stores.
State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, said Target could suffer losses just as Bud Light did after the beer brand partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, whom supporters call inspiring and detractors call sexist.
“What the hell are they thinking?” said Bouchard in a Wednesday interview with Cowboy State Daily. “Do straight people wear shirts saying, ‘I’m straight?’ Is that their main identity when they’re walking around? Why should anything of their sexual preference be worn on their sleeve anyway?”
Bouchard theorized that the frequent push to magnify and normalize transgender and other alternate lifestyles is a sign that some people in those lifestyles are struggling with discord.
“Not all gay people are shoving it down everybody’s throats,” he said. “A lot of gay people just want to be left alone.”
All of Wyoming’s seven Democratic delegates to the state Legislature either did not return Cowboy State Daily voicemails or declined to comment. None of them lives in Casper or Cheyenne where the Target stores are.
Rep. Ken Chestek, D-Laramie, told Cowboy State Daily he didn’t want to comment because the outrage movement struck him as “silly.”
The Market Knows
Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, said he doesn’t prefer to shop Target’s pride collection, but he wishes the political right and left would show each other’s viewpoints more grace.
Shoppers’ preferences will let Target know whether its decision to carry the LGBTQ line is good or bad, he said.
“I think the free market will decide whether or not this affects the general public on a larger scale,” said Brown.
Maybe it’s worth it to Target to capitalize on the transgender community’s shopping needs, he added.
“This is a private business providing what they feel their customers want. I don’t want to see it, therefore I won’t be shopping there,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Some of the outrage toward the collection has to do with its kids' apparel.
Non-partisan group Gays for Groomers, a coalition of gay people against sexualizing children, posted #BoycottTarget to its Twitter page Wednesday, four days after claiming Target is run by “groomers.”
Brown said some people are “disgusted” by corporations apparently pushing lifestyles onto kids that not all parents agree with. He cited Christians in particular, for whom the Bible’s New Testament condemns homosexual and cross-dressing behaviors.
But parents should have the choice whether to let their kids shop pride apparel, because parents have a right to raise their children, he said.
Parental rights are a frequent talking-point among Wyoming Republican lawmakers, who brought two parental-rights bills last year and have vowed to bring more in 2024.
“What if the kids are children that have been adopted by gay parents? Maybe the kids want to show their pride for their parents even though they’re not gay themselves,” said Brown.
Brown said there are people pushing pride apparel who would match conservatives’ outrage if confronted with a “promotion for prayer and Jesus T-shirts in Target as an end cap."
“Both sides need to learn acceptance without approval,” he said, adding “We (don’t) need to castigate and spew hatred.”
Clair McFarland can be reached at: Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com